Monday, September 23

Chapter 6
By the time I got back to the house Geraldine and Olive were sitting in the living room, with coffee, watching the end of the Breakfast Club. A woman was singing all the oldies and the two women were trying to sing the words, filling in with hmmm hmmm hmmm. I must remember this. Perhaps there is an idea here.

With a glance at his watch, Jerry was heading down the hall towards the dining room as the CAREGIVER and Jim headed for the bathroom. Jim smirked at Jerry’s discussed look as they past Jim was completely nude from the waste down and stunk worst then a fresh cow pad in a warm barn. Jerry quickened his step. Once seated at the table, completely erect, Jim once again glanced at his watch. Yes, fifteen minutes exactly and breakfast should be on the table. Jim was always seated 15 minutes before the time. Sadly no one else in this house was prompt.

At the same time Olive is heading into Conis’ room to take her to push her down to the dining room in her wheelchair. She greatly resented the fact that the caregiver would even ask her to do it just because that crazy Jim is on the other end of the house was yelling for her. Her mind kept rolling with a constant dialogue of complaints: "I am 95 years old and have already done my share." " I deserve to sleep as late as I want and do what I damn well choose to do after this many years." "After all, dont I pay $1800 to live in this place." " I could get treated better at the hotel down the street for a heck of a lot less money." "I sure to hell dont get paid to do this".

On arriving in the dining room she gave the wheelchair a shove into the spot at the end of the table that was Conis’. The wheelchair bumped the table and Coni looked up with fear filled eyes. Jerry began praying out loud in a soothing tone and Olive plunked herself down in her designated place completely discussed with both of them. It was at that moment that Eleanor came through the front door with a bouquet of 14 flowers. All the residences except Jim and the CAREGIVER followed her with surprised eyes. This was a definite change in the morning routine.

With a quick smile and call of ‘Good Morning" Eleanor hurried to the kitchen with her flowers. They were carnations with unusually short stems; not the usual long stems one uses for bouquets. . Eleanor instantly returned with seven flowers, each in a different color.

Repeating her first cherry greeting she went to each person, greeting them by their name, and asked them to pick the color that they liked most for their own.

"I just made a quick run out to the organic farm just outside of town just for you", she explained.

"Did you know that carnations are eatable?" "I have checked with your caregiver and none of you have any allergies and these carnations have never had chemicals of any kind on them, so for a treat this morning you are going to have carnations in your dish of fruit." "Sprays and allergies are the only precautions for carnations." " You’ll like them, they are sweet and spicy". "They taste like they smell."

Jerry frowned and let out a loud sound of disapproval, Geraldine smiled in delight . The rest seemed to go along with it as though Eleanor were one of their children who had just come in from the backyard with a gift. Coni’s face remained blank until the last flower was laid in her hand. Her eyes focused on the flower. Eleanor layed the last flower next to Jim’s place.

Rushing back to the kitchen she went to the tray already layed out with 7 small bowls of canned fruit left for her to serve by the CAREGIVE. She took the last 7 carnations and after rinsing them under cold water she carefully removed the petals and dropped them on top of the fruit.

Returning to the dining room with the tray she placed each bowl of fruit in front of the person holding the same colored carnation and as quickly as she came she headed out the door calling back her farewell. The residence sat in stunned silence, trying to comprehend the whirlwind that had changed the routine of their day and stared into their fruit bowl with the colored petals floating on top.

Geraldine looked up and declared " This day is going to be special". I can feel it in my bones".

On the other side of town June was putting the last touches on a tray of cups and plate of health muffins. The tea pot sat on a warming plate to keep the water at the right temperature when needed and a pan of water was simmering on thr back of her stove with some cloves and cinnamon in them to make her house smell good. Glancing at her watch she hurried to her bedroom to bring out the mats for the girls.
Her three closest friends had made a commitment to get together every morning for one half hour of Qi Gong after taking their children to school.

I got there just as they were finishing their routine with a few yoga positions and heading to the dining room for a cup of tea. This was my first experience in being able to enter a group unobserved and listen to their conversations. I sat down in a comfortable chair in the corner and debated how to do this. I had been able to et an idea across to Eleanor with a brochure but that would not work here. I now had to try putting a thought in this groups head.

June poured the water in the cups as the girls added their favorite herb tea bag to the water. "You know", she said as she passed the muffins , "A friend of mine works weekends at the Oaks and she said that it is sad how empty their lives were."

"Yes, I went with the church group to visit once and I guess they seldom have visitors or anything to look forward to, " Helen answered.

"As we were doing the exercises I kept thinking about September 11th and the presidents request that everyone try to do something for someone else, June continues." " A friend of mine works weekends at the oaks on weekends and she said it is sad how empty everyone’s life is there." "

"I was thinking!" " QiGong exercises are not hard to do and would be very good for them". "Why don’t we see if they would like to have us come over and lead exercise class three mornings a week" "We could go there instead of here"?

All four of the women started sharing ideas and I smiled." "I had succeeded". "I had planted the idea in their heads and the rest is up to them". I hurried off to the school to put my next idea into motion."